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By: Ana Dauli

I will start my reflection on the Youth Exchange Summer Camp of the PR Department at An-‎Najah with the first two ideas that came to my mind. First of all, the extraordinary work that is ‎being done in this university on behalf of the students. It is an example of hope and ‎determination to be admired and followed. My congratulations to Zajel Program.

The second ‎point is about the importance of this summer camp in the rebuilding of my idea of Palestinians. ‎They are enduring very difficult times with the occupation; the apartheid state we witnessed in ‎the checkpoint areas shocked and saddened me mostly. It is hard to believe that such things ‎may happen in our century. But, on the other hand, I could also see the light side of their faces. ‎They shared their smiles and joy with us; they are now much closer to me and I'm really ‎grateful.‎

In only fourteen days we visited a lot of wonderful places: Bethlehem, Galilea and the sunrise ‎in the desert by the Dead Sea. Sabastia and Hebron were the most impressive experiences, ‎because we could feel centuries of history, and how ancient and rich Palestinian people and ‎culture are. However, there were everywhere the tracks of destruction left by the yet unsolved ‎conflicts that affect this part of the world, always reminding us of the dark side of humanity.‎

Parallel to these visits, I've spent my time in the An-Najah University (Old Campus) supporting ‎workshops and having informal conversations with the students. I realized how motivated and ‎open minded they are, always asking questions, willing to learn more and more about the world ‎abroad. On the other hand, they let us know how life is in Nablus, one of the cities where some ‎freedom can be breathed, although the present situation in Palestine is always in people's minds ‎and actually affects their daily lives. In one of the lectures we attended we learned about the ‎effects of this situation on people's health.

After this experience in Palestine, we feel more human and compelled to give our best to help ‎build a peaceful world where freedom is the key word.

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